New York State is Tackling Food Waste. Join the Effort!  

By the Bronxville Green Committee

Feb. 9, 2022: On January 1, 2022, the New York State Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling Law went into effect, an effort to reclaim still edible food and significantly reduce the amount of organic matter going into landfills. This law requires that businesses and institutions that produce an average of two tons of food waste a week must donate their excess edible food and recycle the remaining food waste (as long as they’re located within 25 miles of an organics recycling facility).  Hospitals and K-12 schools are exempt, and no businesses or institutions in the Village of Bronxville are large enough to qualify under the law.

Even though our Village is not directly impacted, the law provides the impetus for a worthy goal and creates a call to action for Bronxville residents and businesses to utilize programs that are available to help reduce the amount of food we waste and increase the amount of food scraps we compost.

Residents: Join Bronxville’s growing Food Scrap Recycling Program, a residential composting program. The Village offers a kit that includes everything you need for easy kitchen collection of all your food scraps and waste. Learn more about this program, which is already proven and popular in many Westchester municipalities, and sign up, HERE.

If you have room in your yard, you can also compost at home and reap the reward of having compost to use as a soil amendment on your lawn and gardens. Learn more HERE.

Businesses and institutions: Help address food insecurity in Westchester and aid the environment by setting up a Food Donation Program. There may even be tax advantages!  Learn more HERE and find a handy guide HERE.

Why removing food from our waste stream and recycling it into compost is important:

In most of the U.S. food scraps are dumped into landfills. The nutrients are never cycled back to the soil; in landfills, where there’s no oxygen, the food rots and releases methane gas, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. In fact, the organic material in landfills has made them the third largest source of human-related methane emissions in the country.

Westchester’s discarded food is being incinerated in Peekskill, where its value is also lost, unnecessary energy is used, and pollution is produced.

Recycling food into compost is the solution! If you visit CompostED in Valhalla, Westchester County’s pilot project and education center for everything you want to know about compost, you’ll learn that creating compost is like baking a cake.  Add the right ingredients in the right proportions and allow it to “cook” for the right length of time at the right temperature, and you’ve got gorgeous compost.

Compost is a soil amendment we add to lawns and gardens to enrich them, but it’s more than that.  Made from decomposed food scraps and yard waste, compost is soil that’s rich in organic material, the microbes that make soil and plant life possible.  And because we can’t exist without plants, humans also depend on the microbes in soil--and compost--for their existence.

At CompostED, combining food scraps and organic yard material (leaves and sticks) in a one to two ratio sets off amazing aerobic micro-organisms that begin to break down the food scraps and create heat.  A huge thermometer stuck into the center of the compost pile climbs swiftly to 150 degrees! Moisture and oxygen are also essential ingredients in making compost. A layer of soil on top of the pile keeps the moisture in, while a steady supply of oxygen is ensured by occasionally turning the pile and piping air in from below.  The pile smells like good earth—no stink at all!  In fact, the entire operation produces no unpleasant smells.

In eight short weeks the compost is ready for “curing,” when it’s allowed to rest, cool off, and an entirely new set of micro-organisms takes over.  Remarkably, these organisms doing their invisible work change the compost to make the nutrients in it available to plants.  And that, in turn, allows us to grow nutritious, organic food to eat!

The final, most essential ingredient to cooking up great compost, and reducing food waste, is YOU!

The Bronxville Green Committee is a volunteer organization that is part of the Village of Bronxville. We work to propose and implement environmentally sustainable programs in our community. Please visit our website or contact us for more information!


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Sustainable Living Directory

The Bronxville Green Committee

The Bronxville Green Committee is a volunteer organization under Village government.  We work with the Trustees and Village staff on programs that promote clean energy initiatives and sustainable ways of living. Our programs include The Bronxville Giving Garden, a community garden whose produce is donated to local groups; Take Back Day, when we collect items to be recycled; and Pollinator Pathways, which encourages adding native plants to our gardens. We believe everyone can make a difference by adopting simple, sustainable practices in daily life so we can work together to protect what we love -- our families, our homes and our town.

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